Tag Archives: limited liability

Corporation: A Human Being with No Soul

15

Jerald Finney
Copyright © July 29, 2014

Some define corporation to mean “a human being with no soul;” of course this statement makes an important point even though it is not literally true. A corporation is not a human being, but it is an “artificial person” (a legal fiction) who acts legally, by, for example, entering into contracts, buying and selling property, suing and being sued. And, as an “artificial person” with no soul, the corporation, whether profit or not for profit, will act accordingly. Human beings with souls in a corporation act within an unnatural, soulless, Godless, state-created fiction; because of the contracts created by their act of incorporation, all disputes can be taken to secular courts where only man’s law and rules will be tolerated; do not try to argue God’s law in that environment. The “church” non-profit corporation will be polluted to some degree, greater or lesser, by the immoral, soulless part of the two-headed monster.

“Christian” churches, wiccan churches, planned parenthood, etc. are all under the same non-profit corporation status.

Many secularists understand the nature of incorporation. The statements in a recent article on corporations “Corporations had been viewed as artificial persons for millennia” (click the blue title to go to the article) gives some of the characteristics of incorporation. I urge the interested reader to read that article. The article concerns business corporations; but, although some of what the article says cannot be applied to church incorporation, much of what the article says is applicable to non-profit church corporations. I have explained the intricacies of church incorporation in the Section VI of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (PDF, Online Version, Ordering Information) and in Separation of Church and State (PDF, Online Version, Ordering Information). Those resources thoroughly analyze church incorporation for the believer who has an open mind, some degree of intellect, and some Bible knowledge and wisdom about the principles of church, state, and separation of church and state—those requirements eliminate most believers and pastors, especially fundamental Baptist pastors.

5Some of the assertions in the article are applicable to non-profit corporations but some are not. The following are applicable to church incorporation (Quotes from the article are in parentheses. The bold material in brackets [] below are my notes, comments, and additions.):

  • Corporations had been viewed as artificial persons for millennia, the debate over whether they should be afforded the same rights as humans had been raging long before the United States created, or the 14th Amendment was adopted. The degree of permissible government interference in corporate affairs was controversial from the earliest days of the nation.”
  • LegalEntityStatus“Corporations as legal entities have always been able to perform commercial activities, similar to a person acting as a sole proprietor, such as entering into a contract or owning property. Therefore corporations have always had a ‘legal personality’ for the purposes of conducting business while shielding individual shareholders from personal liability (i.e., protecting personal assets which were not invested in the corporation).”

16[I cover “limited liability” for church corporation members in the article “Spurious rationale for church incorporation: limited liability/Incorporation increases liability of church members.”].

  • 6Corporate personhood is the legal concept that a corporation may be recognized as an individual in the eyes of the law. This doctrine forms the basis for legal recognition that corporations, as groups of people, may hold and exercise certain rights under the common law and the U.S. Constitution. The doctrine does not grant to corporations all of the rights of citizens.”
  • “As a matter of interpretation of the word ‘person’ in the Fourteenth Amendment, U.S. courts have extended certain constitutional protections to corporations. Opponents of corporate personhood seek to amend the U.S. Constitution to limit these rights to those provided by state law and state constitutions.”
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
First Amendment to the United States Constitution

[I explain how a church, by incorporating, gives up her First Amendment status and places herself to a large degree under the Fourteenth Amendment in the God Betrayed and Separation of Church and State. Non-incorporated churches (and churches which do not become legal entities in some other manner other than incorporation) are protected by the religion clause of the First Amendment, whereas, of course, the First Amendment religion clause gives no protection to a business. The religion clause is a statement of biblical principles (separation of church and state (the establishment clause) and soul liberty or freedom of conscious (the free exercise clause).]

  • PlannedParenthood_2“The basis for allowing corporations to assert protection under the U.S. Constitution is that they are organizations of people, and the people should not be deprived of their constitutional rights when they act collectively.[5] In this view, treating corporations as “persons” is a convenient legal fiction which allows corporations to sue and to be sued, provides a single entity for easier taxation…, simplifies complex transactions which would otherwise involve, in the case of large corporations, thousands of people, and protects the individual rights of the shareholders as well as the right of association.”

14thAm.[Churches which do not become legal entities, unlike businesses, are protected by the First Amendment religion clause. I explain why First Amendment protection for churches is biblical and much preferable to Fourteenth Amendment protection in God Betrayed and Separation of Church and State. In fact, seeking Fourteenth Amendment protection places a church under Satanic rules and regulations; the creator of the corporation is the state and state incorporation law gives the manner of organization, the officers, etc. that the law of incorporation requires. Therefore, incorporation completely changes the nature of a church. In addition to the books linked to above, some more concise articles on this matter are “Christians Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil,” “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution” and “Laws Protecting New Testament Church in the United States: Read Them for Yourselves.”]

  • “Generally, corporations are not able to claim constitutional protections which would not otherwise be available to persons acting as a group. For example, the Supreme Court has not recognized a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination for a corporation, since the right can be exercised only on an individual basis.”

[A New Testament (First Amendment)  church can claim First Amendment religion clause protection whereas a corporation cannot. Since a New Testament church, unlike a corporation, is a not a legal entity, she cannot sue, be sued, or act legally. Churches which become incorporated begin to act like corporate businesses in may ways.]

  • 9Corporations are NOT people.While it is true that what guides them is the human activity of their executives, boards of directors, managers and employees, all the human emotional factors of the people in the corporation pass through a “filter” created by the two basic rules: (a) Maximize profit (b) Do whatever is necessary to continue the business.”(Rule a should be modified when it conflicts with rule b).”

[In a church corporation, the officers of the corporation operate an entity whose organization, goals, structure, morality, piety, and officers are mandated by state law in direct contradiction to the organization, goals, structure, morality, piety, and officers given by God’s Holy Bible in the New Testament.]

  • 7“It is a slippery road to give personal rights to corporations. The corporation is an amoral entity, i.e., not governed by human moral values. It lacks guilt for what it does, or empathy for those it harms. What’s worse, this “sociopathic” entity is given the rights of a human being, but not similar responsibilities. A corporation is particularly dangerous because of its great concentration of money, power, and political influence–which it uses freely to reach its goals.”

8[These realities are clearly seen in the Catholic “church” (not incorporated), and also in incorporated Fundamental Baptist Churches. A prime example of the latter is First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. See the article “Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy.” One can also do a google search to see the reactions of the church lawyer (David Gibbs) and the church members of First Baptist of Hammond for more confirmation. This scenario has played out on a smaller scale in many other Fundamental Baptist Churches, including the offspring, followers, and worshipers of First Baptist of Hammond and her pastors.]

13Other parts of the article (the parts dealing with rights of corporations to make political expenditures under the First Amendment free speech clause, the role corporate money plays and should play in democratic politics, the dangers of giving too much power to corporations to allow corporations to participate directly on political campaigns as a threat to democracy) apply to some degree to church corporations. All one has to do is look at the operations of, for example, the average “fundamental church and her pastor, the average seminary or Bible college and what they teach, and the words and activities of the lawyers involved with those institutions to see the application of those matters. That is all the author will say about that in this brief article.

Fundamental Baptist tradition perceives the truth to be that churches are to incorporate and get 28 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3) status. At the same time, that tradition preaches that the Bible is to be the sole source of truth. The reality is that the biblical doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state disprove the first mentioned Baptist tradition. But after all, it is the perception of the truth, not the truth, that matters.

Spurious rationale for church Incorporation: limited liability/Incorporation Increases liability of church members


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 10, 2012
Revised April 15, 2014


 This is a modified version of Section VI, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application;  Chapter 6 of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?


Contents:

I. Preface
II. Introduction
III. Protection from liability for the debts of the corporation
IV. Protection against torts and criminal acts
V. Protection for liability due to contract violations
VI. Conclusion
VII. Links to article on Internal Revenue Code laws as well as direct links to those laws

I. Preface

The author is thankful that the church he is a member of a church which is under Christ and Christ alone. Charity Baptist Tabernacle of Amarillo, Texas is a spiritual entity, not a legal entity such as a non-profit corporation with Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) status. His pastor, Benjamin Hickam, and the other members of Charity Baptist Tabernacle hold the relationship of Christ and His church on a high level, just as they have honored their earthly marriage relationships. They refuse to compromise that relationship.

To totally understand all the issues and sub-issues involved with church incorporation, one must not only have extensive knowledge of Biblical principles, but he must also have an understanding of history and law. You see, the issue of the relationship between church and state is very important to God and His Word completely explains His desired relationship. Historically, true Christians understood the importance of this relationship, and they stood up for their relationship even though they suffered greatly for their stand on this issue—they were imprisoned, drowned, beheaded, burned at the stake, hung, tortured, etc. because they loved their Savior and were willing to do all that He asked them to do.

According to the Word of God and the application of the principles concerning church, government, and separation of church and state, church incorporation displeases God. The author has done exhaustive studies of those principles and their application to incorporation and 501(c)(3) tax exemption of churches. The results of those studies are available for free on this website.

II. Introduction

Today, the most common reasons given by churches for incorporating and seeking 501(c)(3) status are (1) to obey every ordinance of man (2) limited liability; (3) to allow a church to hold property; (4) convenience—it is easier to get a tax deduction for tithes and offerings given to an incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization than for tithes and offerings given to a New Testament church; (5) one’s convictions; and (6) winning souls is  more important than loving God; if a church is incorporated, don’t cause problems. Just continue winning souls because winning souls is more important than anything else, including loving God.

This article will deal with the second false reason, limited liability. Other articles cover the other five reasons:  

  1. Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses When a pastor is asked why his church is incorporated, he will often quickly answer: “Because of Romans 13 [Romans 13:1-2 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Or “We are to obey every ordinance of man.” He may also rely on some other verses. All these verses are examined in this online booklet which is also in online PDF form on this website. Not only that, no law requires a church to get incorporated or apply for 501(c)(3) status or claim 508 status. Instead, the highest law in America protects the right of churches to choose to remain free from corporate and 501(c)(3) or 508 status. See, e.g., First Amendment Protection of New Testament Churches/Federal Laws Protecting State Churches (Religious Organizations) 
  2. Limited liability (corporate status actually increases the liability of church members) (Section VI, Chapter  of God Betrayed; Chapter 6 of Separation of Church and State).
  3. Spurious rationale for incorporating: to hold property (Section VI, Chapter 7 of God Betrayed; Chapter 7 of Separation of Church and State).
  4. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: tax exemption and tax deductions for contributions OR Tax reasons given for church corporate 501(c)(3) status: a biblical and legal analysis (Section VI, Chapter 8 of God Betrayed; Chapter 8 of Separation of Church and State).
  5. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: one’s convictions (Not included in God Betrayed or Separation of Church and State).
  6. Spurious rationale for church corporate-501(c)(3) status: winning souls is more important than loving God/The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls.

Many incorrectly argue that a church should incorporate to protect personal assets from liability (1) for the debts of the corporation, (2) for the torts and criminal acts of the corporation, and (3) for breach of contract by the corporation. Each of these arguments will be considered in light of biblical principle. A careful consideration of the facts will reveal that not only do churches violate principles in the Word  of God and grieve our Lord when they incorporate, they also increase the exposure of their churches and church members to liability.

Remember that although a New Testament church in America may still utilize property (real and personal) in conformity to Biblical principles, she is not a legal entity who can sue and be sued. A New Testament church owns no property and operates strictly according to principles in the New Testament. The New Testament church, unlike the incorporated state church, retains her First Amendment protections as well as other protections under the constitutions and statutes of the state. The incorporated church no longer has the full protection of the First Amendment, since she now is a legal person created under the laws of her new and additional sovereign. Corporate churches, unlike New Testament churches, can even be charged with certain crimes. When a church incorporates, additional exposure is taken on—the state can, at times, charge not only individuals, but also the corporation, with crimes. The purpose of the Biblical Law Center is to help churches organize solely under  the principles of God as laid out in His Word.

The author includes citations from various legal sources. Although many will not understand the meaning of those citations, the reader more familiar with the legal system will be able to check the veracity of the supported statements. Rest assured that legal assertions made herein are backed up by the law.

III. Protection from liability for the debts of the corporation

One may argue first that incorporating a church protects his personal assets from liability for the debts of the corporation. “One of the major attributes of the corporate form of organization is that it insulates shareholders from personal liability for the debts of the corporation…. As a general rule, and in the absence of a charter, constitutional, or statutory provision to the contrary, stockholders are not liable as such for any of the obligations of a corporation. Because a corporation is an entity, separate and distinct from its officers and stockholders, its debts are not the individual indebtedness of its stockholders” (18A AM. JUR. 2D Corporations § 724).

However, limited liability is not absolute:

  • “The general rule that shareholders are not liable for corporate obligations or conduct is subject to numerous exceptions. Shareholders may be held individually liable to prevent or redress fraud, to achieve equity, or to prevent the avoidance of a legal obligation or duty.
  • “If the corporation is a mere instrumentality or alter ego of the shareholder, the corporate entity will be disregarded, and the individuals owning the stock and the corporation treated as identical, with the result that such individuals will be personally liable for the acts and obligations of the purported corporation. The limitation of liability to the corporate assets must give way to imposition of personal liability if the actions of those in control of the corporation denigrate the purpose of limited liability, which is to encourage investment of risk capital. The fact that a corporation is undercapitalized is not sufficient in itself to establish personal liability of the shareholders.
  • “Corporate creditors may reach unpaid stock subscriptions, and if a corporation is liquidated, the shareholders are liable if, otherwise, they would be unjustly enriched by retaining assets of the corporation free from the debts of the corporation” (Ibid., § 728).

Courts look at the “independent operations” to see whether to set aside the corporate form and go to individuals within the corporation for liability. “Independent operations prong of test for determining if corporate form may be disregarded looks at such things as (1) whether corporation is operated as separate entity, (2) commingling of funds and other assets, (3) failure to maintain adequate records or minutes, (4) nature of corporation’s ownership and control, (5) absence of corporate assets and undercapitalization, (6) use of corporation as mere shell, instrumentality, or conduit of individual or another corporation, (7) disregard of legal formalities and failure to maintain arms–length relationship among related entities, and (8) diversion of corporation’s funds or assets to noncorporate uses” (InterGen N.V. v. Grina, 344 F.3d 134 (1st Cir. 2003) cited in 46 A.L.R.3d 428).…

“Piercing the corporate veil is tool that courts use to prevent shareholders, who are not normally liable for corporate debts or liabilities, from hiding behind corporate shield when corporation is under their direct control; in such cases, court will disregard corporation’s identity and hold shareholder liable for corporation’s debt only where corporation has been used to commit fraud, violate a legal duty, or perpetrate a dishonest or unjust act in contravention of rights of another” (Huffman v. Poore, 6 Neb. App. 43, 569 N.W.2d 549 (1997) cited in 46 A.L.R.3d 428).

Also, most lenders require sureties to  the loan. The assets of those sureties are at risk in the event of default. When a church takes a loan, every member should consider themselves as guarantors, since a church is defined by God as a body made up of all the members.

Not only is limited liability for corporations (including non-profit corporations such as churches who choose to become religious organizations under state laws of incorporation) not absolute under the laws of their state sovereign, God holds churches to a high standard. What does the Bible say about debt and repayment of debts? First, neither a Christian nor a church should go into debt. “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Ro. 13.8-10).

The Bible does not say “owe no man any thing unless you have to borrow money to build bigger church buildings, gyms, bingo halls, sports fields and facilities, cafeterias, fellowship halls, and/or any other type structures for the church.” Notice that the commandment not to covet is also included. Most importantly, notice the importance placed on love. Will a Christian who loves his neighbor seek to protect himself from debts he owes to others; debts which the Word of God instructed him not to enter into?

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Lu. 16.10-13). “Mammon” means: “Riches, wealth; or the god of riches. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matt. vi” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828), definition of “MAMMON”)

Thus, churches which go into debt for buildings or anything else distort themselves and become servants of the lender and money, not servants of God. “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Pr. 22.7). Pastors of churches who are serving mammon will find that they fear to preach everything God has laid on their hearts because they might offend some, especially rich Pharisees, who might either leave the church and/or cause problems within the church. Failure to preach the whole gospel is displeasing to the Lord.

Christians and churches are to seek godliness, not worldly riches:

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (I Ti. 6.5-19).

The above verses speak to the saved person who is the temple of God, and, along with other believers, constitute a church body. Nowhere in the New Testament can one find a single verse condoning a church seeking riches and real or personal property. Rather, Christians are to be content with what they have. They are not to go into debt. If they will do the jobs God has given them, lusting after real property and other worldly things will vanish from their hearts and minds. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (He. 13.5-6).

And as long as a church maintains her New Testament status and remains under Christ alone, she can own nothing since she is a spiritual entity. As will be shown, a church can utilize property in ways which conform to biblical principles.

The apostles, and true Christians in their church body down through the ages, have been careful not to seek worldly riches; and they preached the whole counsel of God no matter who was offended. Nothing was ever mentioned in the Word of God about the early church seeking real or personal property. Churches assembled on property, but churches did not own property. The goals of churches and individual Christians were spiritual, not earthly. Individual Christians, at times, even went further than required by biblical principles. “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Ac. 2.44-47).

Thus, a New Testament church should not go into debt and should occupy property in a manner consistent with biblical principles. If a church does go into debt, God desires that she pay that debt back. Since the members made the debt, they are responsible for honoring God and man and paying the debt as agreed.

IV. Protection against torts and criminal acts

As to torts and criminal acts, anyone—no matter the kind of church he is a member of—is liable for his own tort or crime or for any tort or crime in which he participated or encouraged. In other words, should a member of either type church be directly connected to criminal or tortuous acts, that member is not insulated.

  • “Stockholders are not ordinarily liable for the tortious acts of a corporation unless they participate in or aid the commission of such acts. An individual’s liability for the tortious conduct of corporation depends upon that individual’s acts, and not upon any theory of vicarious liability based upon the individual’s status as an owner. For example, a stockholder is individually liable for constructive fraud committed by a corporation only if he or she had knowledge of and instigated the fraud.
  • “Caution: The rule shielding shareholders from liability for a corporation’s torts do not shield shareholders from personal liability in tort for their own misfeasance or nonfeasance, including liability for negligence; a shareholder may be liable if he or she is the central figure in a corporation’s tortious conduct. For example, a shareholder may be held personally liable for negligent acts in managing and supervising the employees of corporation, if those acts are a contributing factor in causing an injury” (18A AM. JUR. 2DCorporations § 726 (2007)).

A New Testament church cannot be and is not liable for the tort or crime of a member or members since she is not a legal entity. People in a New Testament church may commit and be held accountable for torts or crimes, but the church herself cannot commit a tort or crime. If only one or more in a New Testament church commit a crime or tort, the entire church cannot be charged or sued unless everyone in the church was involved. A Christian is not exempt from being falsely accused of a tort and/or a crime; and a Christian can walk in the flesh and commit or participate in a tort and/or a crime if he so chooses.

“It has been held that shareholders [or members] are not liable for a corporation’s violations of state or local statutes, ordinances, or regulations in the absence of proof of active participation in the management of the corporation or the wrongs. However, it has also been held that the purpose behind incorporating is not to protect those who control a corporation from answering for its criminal actions” (Ibid., § 727). Furthermore, not only individuals within a corporate church, but also the corporation itself is subject to state penal laws criminalizing certain acts of corporations, including non-profits:

“The view taken in the early cases that a corporation is not indictable for a criminal offense has long been abandoned, and it is now almost universally recognized that a corporation is not per se exempt from criminal prosecution. Courts and legislative bodies tend to impose the same standards of criminal responsibility upon corporations as upon natural persons…. a corporation cannot be sent to jail; the discharge of its liabilities, whether criminal or civil, can be effected only by the payment of money. Thus, it has been held in a number of cases that where an offense is one which can be committed by a corporation, and where the penalty provided is a fine, the corporation is liable to criminal prosecution…. The proposition that a corporation is amenable to criminal prosecution for offenses punishable by fine is also supported by cases holding that a corporation may be prosecuted for offenses punishable by fine and imprisonment … or by fine or imprisonment, or both…. It is also implicitly supported by myriads of cases in which corporations have been fined.” (80 A.L.R.3d 1220).

A New Testament church has safeguards, in addition to her supernatural and legal protections: she will not be involved with all the worldly matters with which an incorporated “church” and its members are involved and which give the incorporated church and its members and officers opportunities and temptations for wrongdoing. The member of a church who loves the Lord and has his eyes on spiritual, as opposed to material, matters will be more likely to love his neighbor and to behave in a pious manner. The member of any church should understand that not only the state, but also—and primarily—God, desires him to be liable for and make restitution for damages to another caused by his tort or crime or for any tort or crime with which he knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, or with negligence participates.

V. Protection for liability due to contract violations

A person is not ordinarily liable on contracts entered into by a corporation in which he or she owns stock. However, if a stockholder makes a contract as an individual, he or she is liable (18A AM. JUR. 2D Corporations, § 725).

“A shareholder may expressly guarantee a corporate obligation. A shareholder’s contract unconditionally guaranteeing payment of the corporation’s debts is not abrogated by negligence of the creditor that results in the debt not being discharged in bankruptcy. Whether a shareholder has guaranteed the credit of the corporation so as to become personally liable on its obligations in a particular case is a question of fact for the jury” (Ibid., § 730).

A New Testament church, being a spiritual entity, will not and cannot enter into any type of contract. Contract is an enlightenment principle which is antithetical to biblical principle. The author explains this principle in his writings and audio teachings (Go to, e.g., the following links: “Separation of Church and State Law Blog” (click the following link, “Union of Church and State in America, and scroll down and click on the audio teaching “6. Incorporation of Churches;” or click the following link, “Radio Broadcast,” and scroll down and click on the audio teaching segments under Section VI, Chapter 2, “Incorporation of Churches.” You will also find the teaching on this principle in Section VI, Chapter 2 of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and Chapter 3 of Separation of Church and State: God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities for which ordering information is available by clicking the following link: “Order Information for Books by Jerald Finney.”).

Should a church violate God’s principles by incorporating and entering into contracts, the Lord expects that church to honor those contracts at all costs (See Section III above).

VI. Conclusion

In conclusion, churches who incorporate dishonor the Lord and His principles concerning His desired relationship between church and state. Christians are responsible to God to study His Word and make the practical application of His Word to real life. The relationship between Christ and His churches is very important to Him.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ep. 5.25-27).

That relationship has been so important to Christians since the beginning of the Church that they have been willing to die rather than to dishonor it by becoming members of the established Catholic and Protestant churches or other state-church combinations. How important is that relationship to you and your church?

VII. Links to Internal Revenue Code Laws

You can read portions of the following Internal Revenue Code laws which pertain to churches and pastors by going to the following site: “Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in the United States: Read Them for Yourself”; or you may read an entire law online by clicking the following links:

  1.  § 501(c)(3). Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.
  2. § 508. Special rules with respect to section 501(c)(3) organizations
  3. § 7611. Restrictions on church tax inquiries and examinations
  4. § 1402. [Dealing with taxes on income of pastors]
  5. § 107. Rental value of parsonages
  6. § 102. Gifts and inheritances (Tithes and offerings are gifts and, therefore, according to the Internal Revenue Code § 102, not income)
  7. § 2503. Taxable gifts
  8. § 170. Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts

END

 

The False and Misleading Teachings and Advertisements of StartCHURCH, Another Spiritual and Legal Deceiver

Jerald Finney
Copyright © September 13, 2012

Pastors and churches today, generally speaking, are enticed by everything but the truth. Many Christians are easy prey for the humanistic, inaccurate, heretical, and/or apostate teachings of many Bible Colleges, churches, online “ministries,” television “ministries,” etc. Today’s spiritual quacks use business models, lies about civil law, psychology, and other inappropriate fields of study to attempt to achieve their secular goals for individual, family, church, and civil government. In order to implement their methods and plans, they must reject the foundation of truth; thus, they build their houses upon Biblical heresies. When Biblical history, precept, and teaching obviously contradict the earthly desires and mindsets of such pastors and other believers, they, instead of remaining true to the Lord, rush to adopt the ways of the world and twist truth to support and condone their perverted beliefs, practices and teachings. Their motivations are fear, greed, power, pleasure, and their own temporal happiness.

A prime example, among many, of enterprises designed to take advantage of earthly minded believers is StartCHURCH (online at http://startchurch.com). StartCHURCH is outside their field of expertise both Biblically and legally. A Biblically knowledgeable believer can quickly spot many spiritual heresies, distortions, and lies in the information posted on http://startchurch.com. In addition to the spiritual ignorance of StartCHURCH, the organization further delves into another field in which it demonstrates itself either totally inept and/or dishonest: the legal arena. They combine Biblical heresies with legal falsities. Only one example of their dishonesty or ineptitude will be documented in this article.

Someone recently forwarded to this author an online advertisement from StartCHURCH which is reproduced in relevant part in En1. That ad used fear, a familiar tactic, to get the interest of pastors and church members. Additionally it demonstrates that StartCHURCH is not of sound mind. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). After its attempt to arouse fears, the article gives a listing of seminar dates and times and issues which StartCHURCH will address at those seminars. Upon reading the advertisement, this author, a licensed attorney knowledgeable in church and state law, immediately realized that it was, at a minimum, misleading. It contradicted what he has learned from an intense study of civil law and what he has extensively taught concerning liability of church members. Consequently, he went to the law library and looked up the case mentioned in the ad, Hutchins v. Grace Tabernacle United Methodist Church. The entire case, with Lexis/Nexis headnotes, is reproduced in En2.

The author(s) of the ad and the accompanying article, which can be read in its entirety by clicking “All Members of One Church Get Sued at the Same Time” or by reading En3 below, is (are) extremely deceptive. Yes, as the article points out, the plaintiff in the case attempted to include all the members, in addition to the church and one employee, as defendants in the suit. Plaintiff sued defendant church and an employee in tort and contract and later filed a request to certify the action as a class action (to include all members of the church). However, the court ruled that the plaintiff would not be allowed to sue all the members. The court said:

“The members of an unincorporated association are not bound by the unauthorized or ungratified representation of a member….  If the members of an association assent to or ratify a contract in its name, they become liable under them….  Members of an unincorporated association may become liable for a contract by estoppel….  Members of an unincorporated association are individually liable for tortious acts of agents or employees of the association if the tort is committed within the scope of their authority” (See En2 below to verify all quotes and to ascertain whether this author is being truthful about the case while StartCHRUCH is misleading, as alleged). The court affirmed the order of the lower court which denied plaintiff’s request to certify her action against defendant church and employee as a class action because defendant church could not adequately and fairly protect the interests of the class. In other words, the court said the plaintiff could not sue all the members of the church.

Thus, the case supports what the author, a practicing attorney, knows and teaches and not the thesis of StartCHURCH. No matter how a church is organized, (a) member(s) of that church can only be charged or sued for crimes or torts in which the legal elements are proven or admitted and in which (that) (those) member(s) were somehow personally involved; that is, took an active part, authorized, or encouraged.

Furthermore, neither unincorporated association or corporate status are the best way to protect church members from liability. The best way is the manner advocated by Jerald Finney, the author of this article, and others with whom he is associated. A church can choose to operate in conformity to both Biblical principle and American civil law; and, in so doing, not only please the Lord Jesus Christ but also, among other things, minimize exposure to liability from criminal charges and civil suit.

Most importantly, a church who becomes an earthly, or legal, entity such as a corporation or unincorporated association violates Biblical principle and grieves the Lord. Jesus Christ makes clear that institution of the church (made up of local autonomous New Testament churches only), is His bride. He also compares the church to a wife, He being the Husband (See Ephesians 5:22-33). He wants no other authority over His bride.

Jerald Finney explains all the Biblical and legal principles, facts, and consequences involved on his websites, books, and audio teachings. See En4 for more information. Unlike StartCHURCH and many similar “ministries,” Finney’s motivation is love for the Lord Jesus Christ. He has not made any money in his “Church and State Law” ministry. He has received love gifts (which he reports as income to the Internal Revenue Service), but those gifts and income from the sale of books are far outweighed by the expenses of the ministry. His goal is “the glory of God.”

Jerald Finney challenges StartCHURCH or any other such “ministry” to examine his teachings and debate him on any matter with which they take issue. He also challenges believers to grow in knowledge and wisdom so that they can begin to please the Lord in the matter of church and state law.

Endnotes

En1.                  All Members of One Church Get Sued at the Same Time

Several years ago a church in Texas ran into some trouble when a man wanted to sue the church. The problem, however, was that the church was not incorporated, and so it could not be sued. Instead, he filed a class action lawsuit against every member of the church. Could he sue every member? Does the law allow members to be sued personally? The court that heard the case stated, “An unincorporated association is a voluntary group of persons, without a charter, formed by mutual consent for the purposes of promoting a common enterprise.” The court also stated, “Members of an unincorporated association are individually liable for tortious acts of agents or employees of the association if the tort is committed within the scope of their authority” (Hutchins v. Grace Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church).

Unincorporated churches with voting members are most at risk

This court case brings up something that ought to make its members think twice about their . . . click here to read the entire article

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En2. 

ERA L. HUTCHINS, Appellant v. GRACE TABERNACLE UNITED PENTECOSTAL CHURCH AND CLIFFORD PARKER, Appellees
No. 01-90-00481-CV
COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, First District, Houston
804 S.W.2d 598; 1991 Tex. App. LEXIS 285
January 31, 1991, Delivered
January 31, 1991, Filed

PRIOR HISTORY: [**1] On Appeal from the 333rd District Court; Harris County, Texas; Trial Court Cause No. 89-17354; Hon. Davie Wilson.

DISPOSITION: Order affirmed.

CASE SUMMARY

Procedural History: Plaintiff appealed an interlocutory order of the 333rd District Court (Texas) denying her request to certify an action against defendant church and employee as a class action under   Tex. R. Civ. P. 42.

Overview: Plaintiff sued defendant church and employee in tort and contract. Plaintiff sought actual and punitive damages, return of real property, a declaration of her rights and status under a lease, and in injunction against defendant church, its members, and its employees to prevent them from harming or returning to the property. Plaintiff later filed a request to certify the action as a class action under Tex. R. Civ. P. 42. The trial court denied the request and plaintiff appealed. The appeals court affirmed he denial because defendant church could not adequately and fairly protect the interests of the class. The court noted that while the members of the association who signed the contracts could be liable, as an unincorporated association, defendant church could n be liable for its own contracts. Hence, as a party who could not be liable, defendant church was not in a position to be the representative party for those who could be.

OUTCOME: The appeals court affirmed the denial of plaintiff’s request to certify her action against defendant church and employee as a class action because defendant church could not adequately and fairly protect the interests of the class. The court reasoned that as an unincorporated association, defendant church could not be liable for its on contracts, while the members of the church could be liable.

Hn1 An unincorporated association is not liable on its contracts, which are regarded as the liability of the individuals who sign them. The members of an unincorporated association are not bound by the unauthorized or unratified representations of a member. If the members of an association assent to or ratify a contract in its name, they become liable under them. Members of an unincorporated association may become liable for a contract by estoppel.

Hn2 Members of an unincorporated association are individually liable for tortious acts of agents or employees of the association if the tort is committed within the scope of their authority.

Hn3 Tex. R. Civ. P. 28 authorizes suit by or against an unincorporated association in the common name for the purpose of defending or enforcing a substantive right, but does not enlarge or diminish any substantive rights or obligations of parties. Rule 28 does not create in an unincorporated entity ability to hold real estate.

Hn4 The burden of proof is on plaintiff to establish her right to maintain an action as a class action.

Hn5 The standard the appellate court uses to review a district court’s refusal to certify a class is whether the court abused its discretion. The trial court abuses its discretion when it does not apply the law to the undisputed facts.

Hn6 The principal question underlying all class action decisions is: Will a class action furnish the most economical method for adjudicating a large number of related cases? If the answer is yes, and if the party moving for the certification of a class proves all the necessary elements for a class in Tex. R. Civ. P. 42, the trial court abuses its discretion in refusing to certify a class.

Hn7 Under Tex. R. Civ. P. 42(a), a party may bring a class action suit if: (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable; (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class; (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

Hn8 In determining whether to certify a class, it is not necessary that all questions of law and fact be common to the class, just the principal ones.

COUNSEL: Bruce Ian Schimmel, Stephen P. Dillion, Houston, Texas. Don Stocking, Conroe, Texas.

JUDGES: Michol O’Connor, Justice. Chief Justice Evans and Justice Hughes also sitting.
OPINION BY: O’CONNOR

OPINION

The question here involves the propriety of the trial court’s refusal to certify a suit as a class action. Era L. Hutchins, plaintiff, appeals from an interlocutory order denying her request to certify a class action under TEX.R.CIV.P. 42, which is an appealable interlocutory order under TEX.CIV.PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. § 51.014(3) (Vernon Supp. 1991). We affirm.

1. The liability of associations

The underlying suit involves the liability of an unincorporated religious association and its members for the contracts and torts of a church. An unincorporated association is a voluntary group of persons, without a charter, formed by mutual consent for purposes of promoting a common enterprise. BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 1373 (5th ed. 1979). Hn1 An unincorporated association is not liable on its contracts, which are regarded as the liability of the individuals who sign them. Summerhill v. Wilkes, 133 S.W. 492, 493 (Tex.Civ.App. — Dallas 1910, no writ)(contract signed by the chairman of the building committee was not the liability of the unincorporated church association). The members of an unincorporated association are not bound by the unauthorized or unratified representations of a member. Kiteman v. Lacy, 144 S.W. 1184, 1186 (Tex.Civ.App. — Austin 1912, no writ). If the members of an association assent to or ratify a contract in its name, they become liable under them. Hardy v. Carter, 163 S.W. 1003, 1010 (Tex.Civ.App. — Amarillo 1914, writ dism’d or ref’d)(op. on reh’g). Members of an unincorporated association may become liable for a contract by estoppel. Abrams v. Brent, 362 S.W.2d 155, 158-59 (Tex.Civ.App. — Austin 1962, writ ref’d n.r.e.).

Hn2 Members of an unincorporated association are individually liable for tortious acts of agents or employees of the association if the tort is committed within the scope of their authority. Golden v. Wilder, 4 S.W.2d 140, 143-44 (Tex.Civ.App. — Fort Worth 1928, no writ)(op. on reh’g).

2. Plaintiff’s allegations

Plaintiff sued Grace Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church, and an employee of the Church, Clifford Parker, in tort and contract. Plaintiff seeks actual and punitive damages, return of the Malone Street property, a declaration of her rights and status under the lease, and an injunction against the Church, its members, and its employees to prevent them from harming or returning to the Malone Street property.

In her petition to certify a class action, plaintiff made the following claims: Plaintiff and her husband owned several contiguous lots in Tomball, known as 612 Malone Street, which they acquired piecemeal through deed, foreclosure on a deed of trust, litigation, and adverse possession. The Church building and parking lot are located on the Malone Street property. On August 15, 1972, plaintiff’s husband and V.E. Hall, a trustee of the Church, entered into a five-year lease for the Malone Street property. The lease was extended by oral agreement. Since 1987, the Church has refused to pay rent under the lease. Parker told plaintiff and her husband that he would help them clear their title to lots 27 and 28 by representing them before the local taxing authorities and by informing them when the Malone Street property was to be sold for taxes. Instead, Parker and the Church, in violation of a fiduciary duty to plaintiff and her husband, bought a fractional interest in lots 27 and 28 of the Malone Street property at a tax foreclosure sale.

Because the Church is an unincorporated entity, plaintiff contends the individual members are jointly and severally liable for breach of contract and the misconduct of the Church and Parker. Plaintiff states she is entitled to maintain a class action under TEX.R.CIV.P. 42 against all individuals who were members of the Church or have become members since September 1987 to the date of judgment.

Assuming for purposes of this opinion only that plaintiff will be able to prove all allegations in her petition, the question is how plaintiff can establish liability against the members of an unincorporated association. Plaintiff has only two choices: Plaintiff can join all members of the Church, past and present, going back to September 1987, or plaintiff can bring the suit as a class action. Plaintiff chose to bring the suit as a class action. The issue for this appeal is whether, on this record, the trial court erred in refusing to certify the suit as a class action.

3. The Church’s response

The Church filed a response to plaintiff’s motion for certification, stating there is no showing that the class should be liable for tortious conduct such as misrepresentation and conspiracy. The Church says that, because it is a voluntary organization subject to changes in membership, not all members would necessarily be liable for conspiracy or misrepresentation of the Church or of Parker. The Church contends there are individual members who have individual defenses that are inconsistent with the defenses of the Church and Parker. Thus, the Church goes on to say, it would be a burden for the attorney for the Church to inform all the members of their individual defenses.

The Church suggests that if any willful conduct is demonstrated against the Church, the liability for individual members can be satisfied in post-judgment proceedings. The Church cites no authority to support its suggestion that individual liability be established in post-judgment proceedings.

The Church also argues that under TEX.R.CIV.P. 28, plaintiff is required to sue the Church and is prohibited from suing the individual members. The Church misreads the rule. Hn3 Rule 28 authorizes suit by or against an unincorporated association in the common name for the purpose of defending or enforcing a substantive right, but does not enlarge or diminish any substantive rights or obligations of parties. TEX.R.CIV.P. 815; Parrish v. Looney, 194 S.W.2d 419, 424 (Tex.Civ.App. — Galveston 1946, no writ). Rule 28 does not create in an unincorporated entity ability to hold real estate. Id.

In brief, the Church wants both the advantage of an unincorporated entity (no liability for the entity), and at the same time wants the advantage of a corporate entity (no liability for its members).

4. The hearing on the certification

At the certification hearing, Hn4 the burden of proof was on plaintiff to establish her right to maintain an action as a class action. Life Ins. Co. of the Southwest v. Brister, 722 S.W.2d 764, 770 (Tex.App. — Fort Worth 1986, no writ). To support her motion to certify the class, plaintiff introduced the Church’s answers to interrogatories and the documents attached to the answers. Other than that evidence, the hearing was limited to argument of counsel.

5. The appeal

In two points of error, plaintiff maintains the judge erred in denying the certification of a class action on the issues (1) of title and possession of real property, and declaratory and injunctive relief, and (2) the damage issues.

Hn5 The standard we use to review a district court’s refusal to certify a class is whether the court abused its discretion. Parker County v. Spindletop Oil and Gas Co., 628 S.W.2d 765, 769 (Tex.1982); Townplace Homeowners’ Ass’n, Inc. v. McMahon, 594 S.W.2d 172, 177 (Tex.Civ.App. — Houston [1st Dist.] 1980, writ ref’d n.r.e.). The trial court abuses its discretion when it does not apply the law to the undisputed facts. Wiggins v. Enserch Exploration, Inc., 743 S.W.2d 332, 334 (Tex.App. — Dallas 1987, writ dism’d); see Camp v. Shannon, 162 Tex. 515, 518, 348 S.W.2d 517, 519 (1961).

6. Prerequisites to a class action

Hn6 The principal question underlying all class action decisions is: Will a class action furnish the most economical method for adjudicating a large number of related cases? Wente v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 712 S.W.2d 253, 255, 257 (Tex.App. — Austin 1986, no writ). If the answer is yes, and if the party moving for the certification of a class proves all the necessary elements for a class in rule 42, the trial court abuses its discretion in refusing to certify a class. Plaintiff claims that she satisfied all the requirements of subpart (a) of rule 42.

Hn7 Under rule 42(a), a party may bring a class action suit if

(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;

(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;

(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and

(4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

a. Numerous members of the class

The first requirement is that the class be so numerous that joinder of all members is impractical. As part of its answers to interrogatories, the Church filed a list of 76 members of the Church. We hold that 76 potential defendants are a sufficient number of parties to meet the first requirement.

b. Common questions of law and fact

The second requirement is that questions of law or facts are common to the class. The central question of law in this case will be the liability of the individual members of an unincorporated church for the actions of the trustees. The central question of fact in this case will be whether the membership ratified or assented to the actions of the trustees, or if the membership is estopped to deny the actions of the trustees.

The Church contends that the individual members will assert different factual defenses, whether they were members at the time the Church did not pay its rents. Hn8 It is not necessary that all questions of law and fact be common to the class, just the principal ones. Franklin v. Donoho, 774 S.W.2d 308, 312 (Tex.App. — Austin 1989, no writ). Here, plaintiff plead that all members are responsible for the actions of the Church and its trustee under the theory of respondeat superior. At trial, the principal questions will be common to all members of the Church; if a person was not a member of the Church at the time of non-payment of the rent, that person would not be a member of the class.

c. Claims or defenses of representatives are typical

The third requirement is that the claims or defenses of the representative party are typical of the class. Plaintiff has named the Church as the representative party. Plaintiff’s claims against the Church are the same as plaintiff’s claims against the members of the Church: the Church and its members owe plaintiff for unpaid rent and for torts committed by the Church; plaintiff wants a declaratory judgment that she owns the land; and plaintiff wants an injunction against the membership from returning to the Malone Street property. In addition, plaintiff has claims against the trustees: the trustees defrauded her by taking property at the tax sale.

d. The class representative

The last requirement is that the designated class representative will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class. In the pleadings for the certification of the class, plaintiff asked that “the Defendant Church” be appointed as the class representative. The Church is an unincorporated association that cannot be liable for its own contracts, see Summerhill, 133 S.W. at 493, or torts, see Kuteman, 144 S.W. at 1186. Liability belongs to the members of the association who sign the contracts, Summerhill, 133 S.W. at 493, or to the members when agents or employees of the association commit torts within the scope of their authority, Golden, 4 S.W.2d at 143-44. Accordingly, we hold that the Church, which cannot be liable, is not in a position to be the representative party for those who can be.

We affirm the order.

En3.

All Members of One Church Get Sued at the Same Time
March 12, 2002 by Paul Rivera

Several years ago a church in Texas ran into some trouble when a man wanted to sue the church. The problem, however, was that the church was not incorporated, and so it could not be sued. Instead, he filed a class action lawsuit against every member of the church. Could he sue every member? Does the law allow members to be sued personally?The court that heard the case stated, “An unincorporated association is a voluntary group of persons, without a charter, formed by mutual consent for the purposes of promoting a common enterprise.” The court also stated, “Members of an unincorporated association are individually liable for tortious acts of agents or employees of the association if the tort is committed within the scope of their authority” (Hutchins v. Grace Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church).

Unincorporated churches with voting members are most at risk

This court case brings up something that ought to make its members think twice about their legal status as a church. There are many churches that have voting members who vote on many issues such as salaries, purchase contracts, and other important things like real estate transactions and lease agreements. In essence, when members of the unincorporated church vote on a particular item, they are taking upon themselves potential personal liability because they become a direct personal party to the contract or transaction. This could bring disastrous results.

One of the first acts of a church

Incorporating ought to be one of the first acts of any church. In 2010, approximately 1,000 churches per month were sued. That number is likely to keep rising because today, many churches are starting in homes, hotel conference rooms, and schools, which means they have to sign more contracts and enter into unusual contracts. It is important to ensure that your church forms a legal structure to protect its members, board, and trustees. As mentioned before, incorporating should be done before conducting your first service.

What happens when you incorporate your church?

The legal concept of an artificial person exists where state law has created laws recognizing a corporation. The laws of all fifty states allow churches to create a corporation that exists separate from that of its members, officers, and board. The church uses the corporation to conduct its business and manage its assets.

What is indemnification?

When a church forms a corporation, it receives special power to indemnify its pastors, board members, and employees from liability for the action they take in behalf of the church. This allows one to serve on the board with the confidence of knowing that the acts he/she performs in behalf of the church will not come back to haunt him/her.

Where is your church?

Right now, there are many churches operating on a deficient legal foundation. Most pastors I have met state that from the first day they started their church, they had always intended on doing things the right way, but then ministry, preaching, and life got in the way. That does not have to be you. Today is the best day to start getting right.

[Added by Jerald Finney: To learn how to do things the right way, disregard all teaching and advertisments from StartCHURCH, and begin to study your Bible and the writings of Jerald Finney (see En5 below). Contact Jerald Finney at no charge when you are knowledgeable and ready to do things God’s way.]

En4. One may have access to all of Jerald Finney’s teachings at no cost by going to his “Separation of Church and State Law” website. Two of his books, The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls and Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses have now been completely reproduced on that website (click the links to go to the online versions of the books). The other two books are in the process of being reproduced there. All his books are covered in his audio teachings which are on that site. One may find his other website “Church and State Law,” to be useful as well.

God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Link to preview of God Betrayed): may be ordered from Amazon by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Amazon.com or from Barnes and Nobel by clicking the following link: God Betrayed on Barnes and Noble. All books by Jerald Finney as well as many of the books he has referenced and read may also be ordered by left clicking “Books” (on the “Church and State Law” website) or directly from Amazon by going to the following links: (1) Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses (Kindle only); (2) The Most Important Thing: Loving God and/or Winning Souls (Kindle only); (3) Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Link to preview of Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities?) which can also be ordered by clicking the following Barnes and Noble link: Separation of Church and State on Barnes and Noble.